Last week we looked at 10 great leadership styles to model.  In the 2nd of this 2-part series, we’re focussing on the 10 major causes of leadership failure.  Read these to avoid the pitfalls!

Disorganisation of Details
No leader is ever ‘too busy’ to do anything.  When you admit you are too busy, you show up your inefficiency.  One leadership style to definitely avoid is the “I’m too busy” attitude.

Unwillingness To Do Menial Tasks

To be a great leader, you have to get your hands dirty sometimes! If you want a great example, you only need to think of Gandhi.  His leadership style was so effective because he wasn’t above his followers, he was one of them.

Expect To Be Paid For What You Do

The most successful leaders I know get paid not for what they know, but for what they do with what they know.   Leadership style focusses on action.

Fear of Competition
Don’t focus on others, focus on what you are doing and how you can do it better.  The best leaders in the world train their team members to take over.  Only in this way, can you give attention to many things, i.e., leverage out to make more money.

Lack of Imagination

A weak leadership style is one of no imagination. With no imagination then you have no hope of meeting emergencies and of creating plans which your team will be inspired to follow.


If you’re the kind of leader who claims all the credit then this is bound to cause resentment.  The most powerful leaders actually give all the credit to their team because it’s a fact that people work harder for commendation and recognition than they will for money alone.  Love your team and they will love you!  Another definate leadership style to avoid is selfishness.

This clearly does not command respect.  Enough said.

Lack of Loyalty
Any leader who is not loyal to his/her team will not be leader for long. 

If you’re trying to lead through the “authority” of your role, you’re trying to lead by force.  Real leaders lead through encouragement.  In the wise words of Mo-tzu,“People only become unmanageable when one tries to lead them with a violent love….But if one approaches them with trust and takes them by the hand….there will not be a single one will not adapt himself to the rule.” 

Your Job Title
Great leaders don’t need fancy job titles to gain respect.  A true leadership style is one through his/her actions not by the words on their business card – their offices are free of ostentation and open to anyone to enter.

Bonus Tip – Good Delegation

OK, so this isn’t one to avoid, but it’s so useful I thought I would include it anyway. To be a good business owner we have to be prepared to let go of the things we are not so good at and delegate them to others.  But not abdicate responsibility for them.

Good delegation is:

  1. Ask someone to achieve an outcome
  2. Ask if they accept responsibility for it
  3. Give them authority to complete it (or outline what you want to be consulted about)
  4. Schedule to review progress on estimated completion date.

Most people just hand it over like a parcel and never check in.

What’s Next?
A strong leadership style is to be modeled over time. I don’t think it’s something to be achieved overnight, but we can certainly start now.  It might help if you looked at the list honestly and asked yourself “Which of these am I doing?”  “Which of these could I stop doing?”  Choose one of the things you want to start doing now and you might just find that you’ve taken the first step towards great leadership.

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